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The big four kids are actually in this picture, sitting under the table which holds their pumpkins.  I’m not really a photo-taking genius.  Or even average.

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and I mean that in the plural noun sense, not the singular verb sense.

So far, it’s been a good Christmas, especially for our first one as foster parents.   I certainly hope there are many more, but this one has been mostly a success.

One of the biggest problems is due to the fact that Mark and Nikki’s relatives provided two big sacks of gifts for them.  Some problem, huh?  It was quite a blessing.  However, their family, it seems, does the traditional ‘open-everything-at-once’ on the 25th.  And then Christmas is over.  Husband and I decided several years ago to spread out the present opening over the whole Christmas season, a la The Twelve Days of Christmas.

(We still haven’t gotten a satisfactory answer on when Christmas officially ends.  It seems there are three big choices: Jan. 6 (Epiphany), the Sunday after (Baptism of Christ) or Feb. 2 (Candlemas), depending on your denomination.)

Anyway, it’s usually worked for us.  But with Mark and Nikki’s presents, things have gotten off-balance.  I unwrapped and checked their presents, but then I rewrapped them, so I don’t know what they will be each morning until they open them.  That came to a head on Saturday, when Nikki unwrapped socks and shoes, Mark unwrapped two pairs of shoes, and Junior got a cool dinosaur fighting toy.  Yeah, I don’t blame them for having green eyes and grumbling voices.

So I guess I’ll either have everyone open all their presents, or I’ll have to try and give my kids lame presents too.  It’s all a bit complicated for me; I like Christmas to be as simple as I can make it, and this is just not working like it usually does.  But I really like my Christmas traditions!  Whaaa whaaa…

Oh, and one more minor fail: this morning, Nikki unwrapped Battleship (the game).  An odd choice for a 5-year old girl, yes?  I thought so too when I checked it, but I’m not here to question their choices, so I let it go.  It just occurred to me they probably mislabeled it, and it was supposed to be Mark’s, which also makes sense because Nikki has 3 extra presents.